Before returning to Paris from our Lyon trip, we took a small detour to spend a day in Annecy, a city in the southeastern part of France near the Swiss border. There’s always a risk of disappointment when you go somewhere where you’ve been inundated with how wonderful, beautiful, charming, <insert superlative of choice>, a place is. I try to keep my expectations low when hearing these suggestions (this is arguably just a good life strategy). But nevertheless, it helps because for me the best part of travel is the act of discovery – good or bad – rather than finding myself thinking “why does everybody like this place so much”?
But, this place stays fairly true to the rumors. Dubbed the “Venice of the Alps,” the old town (Vielle Ville) is a picturesque, medieval town brimming with canals and narrow alleyways that are lined with terraced cafes, shops, and restaurants. It’s set against the backdrop of Lac d’Annecy — a peaceful, clean, teal-colored lake that offers great mountain views. We were lucky to have sun during our visit, so we took a pedal boat out on the lake. There are also footpaths and parks surrounding the lake filled with families, couples, runners, rollerbladers (do people still do this?), cyclists, etc.
Since we didn’t have much time, we didn’t bother with any lists of things to do or see – and I highly recommend that if you don’t have a lot of time. You won’t find this itinerary in any legitimate guidebook, but here’s my suggestion for a short trip:
- Walk around Old Town during the day
- Walk around Old Town during the night. Similar to Venice, I think this place gets a mysterious, creepy air about it at night
- Take lots of photos – they will all look good, and you’ll look better in them
- Hang out at the Lake
- Visit Pont des Amours (or don’t, depending on your long-term goals) – supposedly, if you kiss in the middle of the bridge, you’ll stay with your partner forever. Plus, the views are great from here